Everything you need to know about vitamin D deficiency
Among all the essential vitamins, vitamin d helps in the strengthening of muscles and bones. The best source of vitamin d is a healthy diet and sunlight. The deficiency of vitamin d may occur if a person fails to absorb vitamin d from diet as well as sunlight. Vitamin d deficiency may lead to back and muscle pain. In severe cases, vitamin D deficiency can even cause bone loss.
Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient which is necessary for several body functions. As our human body does not generate vitamin D on its own, this is why we have to collect them with diet and sunlight. A nutrition enriched diet can provide us a little amount of vitamin D, but the human body needs to be exposed in direct sunlight to derive a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Also, remember that our body needs to convert vitamin D to its active form in order to have benefits from them.
Vitamin D deficiency is an universal disorder that seven in every ten people are affected with. This deficiency can cause several health complications including bones and muscle disorders. Many studies have shown that this deficiency disorder mostly affects people with dark skin and aging.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur if a person does not get enough vitamin D, or their body cannot fully absorb vitamin D. There are several reasons behind vitamin D deficiency, and also there are many treatments feasible to treat this disorder.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body synthesizes when the skin is exposed to the sunlight. When our body takes vitamin D from diet or sunlight, our body needs to transform it into its active form known as calcidiol or 25-hydroxyvitamin to use the vitamin properly. Vitamin D is present in a small amount of foods, such as fortified products. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
What is the importance of vitamin D?
This fat-soluble vitamin is not only important for bone and muscle health of the body, it also acts a critical role in multiple body functions. It also protect us from several chronic health disorders such as:
Type 2 diabetes
Also, our body needs vitamin D in order to use phosphorus and calcium. Vitamin D deficiency along with a low phosphorus and calcium levels can cause hypocalcemia and hyperparathyroidism. Both of these situations can lead to osteomalacia in grownups, and rickets in youngsters.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
One can find the symptoms of this disease is a little hard to notice because the symptoms might not be present for several months. Also, some people may not notice any of the symptoms at all. Despite that, it will be better to have a sound knowledge about the signs and symptoms of this disease beforehand. Therefore the common symptoms are:
Back pain: Vitamin D helps in maintaining bone and muscle health. Many studies have shown that every 8 in 10 people with vitamin D deficiency suffer from lower back pain.
Low bone density: Vitamin D aids in bone metabolism and calcium absorption. Low bone density may occur if your bones have lost calcium and other essential minerals. Low bone density can lead to bone fractures. The percentage of low bone mineral density is higher in women than men.
Muscle pain: Multiple reasons can cause muscle pain and one of them is low vitamin D levels. Some evidence has shown that taking a high dosage of vitamin D supplements can reduce many types of pain in vitamin D deficient patients.
Depression: People with low vitamin d levels may experience depression. Low levels of calcidiol (active form of vitamin D) is linked with depression and anxiety.
Hair fall: Proper nutrition is utmost important for healthy skin and strong hair. Generally excessive stress can cause hair fall, but low vitamin D levels can also be the cause of it.
What are the causes of Low vitamin D levels?
There are several reasons which can lead to low levels of vitamin D. The primary reasons are:
Not eating enough vitamin D enriched foods
Not getting adequate sunlight
Having dark skin
Having chronic health disease including liver disease, kidney disease and hyperparathyroidism
Having health conditions which affect your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D, such as Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease
Having gastric bypass
Using certain medicines that restrict your body’s capability to metabolize vitamin D to its active form, including steroids and statins
How is Vitamin D deficiency detected?
The vitamin D deficiency check is not included in the routine health checkup. However, your doctor may want to monitor your vitamin D levels, if you have risk factors or symptoms of this disorder. Then your doctor may suggest you take a vitamin d test or vitamin d deficiency test to analyze your vitamin D levels. Also, they can suggest you a vitamin profile test which not only measures the vitamin d level, but it will evaluate all the crucial vitamin levels. Go to your nearest diagnostic center to understand the vitamin test cost.
To treat vitamin D deficiency, your doctor would recommend certain vitamin D supplements to gain and maintain an acceptable level of vitamin in the body. You can buy these oral supplements from any over the counter.
Make sure you eat foods enriched with high vitamin D along with the medicines. Try to eat more egg yolks, fatty fish, yogurt, beef liver, fortified cereals, fortified juices and milk. Foods do contain vitamin D but in low amounts, this is why it is important to have enough exposure to the sunlight. Also, to avoid the negative effects of ultraviolet rays, make sure to use a good broad spectrum sunscreen.